Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Progressive Metal Scene
Band Photo: Suspyre (?)
Every week with Unearthing the Metal Underground we reveal three bands that deserve to be heard by a wider audience. After taking a look at experimental metal groups and instrumental bands with plenty of progressive elements, this week we’re heading straight into underground prog metal acts.
Throwing in jazzy interludes, unexpected changes in tempo and style, and usually a heaping dose of 70’s rock influence, prog has helped to keep the metal scene from stagnating and provides plenty of heaviness without always relying on outright brutality. There may be an odd contradiction of an entire genre called “progressive metal,” since the whole idea is that progressive music can’t be lumped into a single category and doesn’t follow the rules or format of a specific sub-genre. That whole sticky issue aside, these three bands explode with non-traditional song structures and a huge range of influences that make them well worth hearing for any fan of the more well known progressive metal acts, from Opeth to Dream Theater and beyond.
New Jersey’s Suspyre is the cream of the crop in the underground prog metal world, with production values and song writing chops on par with any huge name act. The band creates massive Opeth-length tracks, but still maintain consistent quality and amazing transitions across ten minute epics. Suspyre’s soaring power metal influence vocal work is especially worth hearing, and the band does even throw in a few growls here and there for a heavier edge.
The group’s last release was the 2008 “When Time Fades” album (reviewed here), but Suspyre is now working on a fourth album. To check out the act’s take on melodic prog metal, head over to the Suspyre Facebook profile or listen to the songs “The Light of the Fire” and “Siren” in the clips below.
At War With Self
Masterminded by Glenn Snelwar from Gordian Knot, At War With Self heads mostly into instrumental territory and mixes together progressive rock with a host of other sounds. Everything from jazz to classical to ambient can be heard throughout any given song, with a heavier guitar solo always just around the corner.
At War With Self’s music can be heard through Facebook, or by checking out the songs “911” and “Threads” from the “Acts of God” album below.
A Cosmic Trail
Featuring members of Lanfear, Germany’s A Cosmic Trail is another band with a huge focus on the instrumentation over vocal work and long songs with loads of twists and turns. Lamentably the band only has a single release out, titled “The Outer Planes,” but A Cosmic Trail recently announced work is underway on a follow-up album with the working title “Mistral.”
To take the musical journey down A Cosmic Trail you can check out the band’s official MySpace music profile. Two songs from “The Outer Planes,” titled “Wide Open Spaces” and “Sunken Lanes,” are also available in the YouTube clips below.
Progressive metal covers a huge range of sounds, and obviously there are many more quality prog acts to be found. Feel free to discuss your favorite prog metal bands in the comments below, and check back in next Monday as we continue to unearth more underground metal bands.
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